July’s Second Thursday event, Software and Educational Technology, met in Farmington at the UConn Health Center on July 10th. Just over 60 attendees, including early stage companies, service providers, and investors, made their way to UConn’s academic building. Five pitch presentations kicked off the evening at 5:00pm.
360Alumni – Presented by Christina Balotescu. 360Alumni aims to help colleges and universities repair broken relations between the institution and it’s alumni by “looking beyond fundraising goals and putting alumni first.” By keeping alumni connected and engaged, the institution benefits from an increase in donation size and frequency. According to Balotescu, the current constituent pyramid focuses largely on the top most engaged donors when it should focus equally on all donors no matter how engaged or generous they may be. 360Alumni offers a system that enables alumni to engage easily and effectively while encouraging the administration to connect with them regardless of the size of their pocketbook.
Campuscene - Presented by Ryan Schwartz. Campuscene is a software that allows prospective students to connect and engage with an institution they would like to attend. This not only enables the student to make a more sound choice when selecting a university but also helps said university make better projection calls on which accepted applicants will actually attend. According to Schwartz, 85 percent of universities say that improving yield is of top priority, yield being the estimated attendance compared to accepted applicants. More than 30 institutions have witnessed the benefits of the Campuscene experience.
Combat2Career - Presented by Charlotte Creech. Combat2Career is a software that aims to grow veteran enrollment through better veteran service. According to Creech over one million new veterans are expected to hit the college search this year, an estimated 10 billion potential dollars for academic institutions. The problem? Simply that veterans have a hard time figuring out which colleges and universities will accept their GI benefits and which will not. This results in a large sum of wasted GI benefits and potential tuition dollars. Combat2Career has developed a software that will allow veterans to calculate how their GI benefits will be used at a university; effectively allowing them to make the best choice as to which university to attend. Combat2Career bridges the gap between institutions recruiting vets and vets looking for the right institution. The goal is to help colleges and universities cash in on GI cash benefits while helping veterans find institutions that will best utilize their tuition dollars.
Screen Mentor Inc. - Presented by Michael Rachkovsky. Screen Mentor’s advanced artificial intelligence technology, Intelligent Educational Suite, or IES for short, aims to facilitate a more engaging and productive learning environment. Some of the major components found in IES include the following: an intelligent tutor, parent support system, teacher support system, and school admin support system.
Why Science - Presented by Yvonne Kielhorn. Why Science is geared toward helping teachers customize their lesson plans in a way that will better engage their students. The cloud-based, online platform allows teachers to streamline their educational programs and alter their lessons to better convey content. Why Science is more accessible, and affordable, than traditional tutoring and because it compliments the educators teaching style so nicely it has been successful in increasing student performance in school systems where it is implemented.
During the pitch presentations attendees were able to log on to TestMyPitch and give live feedback to the presenters. Following the five company pitches were two keynote presentations:
Keynote speaker – Jean Hammond of Learn Launch:
Keynoter Jean Hammond of Learn Launch used her presentation time to highlight the trends in investment opportunities. Changes in the education market are imperative, making the need for new innovations even more crucial. “There is a hunger for accountability and answers to the questions, ‘will high school students be prepared for college,’ and ‘will college grads get a good job?’ are being highly sought after,” said Hammond. In order to ensure that the answers are indeed “yes” schools are hard pressed to upgrade their facilities; a costly endeavor. Innovations that personalize the learning process, simplify lesson plan sharing, and aid educators in preparing students for the “next step,” are crucial in the educational industry. In fact, Hammond explained that a striking 92 percent of teachers have expressed a desire to use more edTech in their classrooms. “This is a segment where investment is happening,” said Hammond. “The educational market is bringing in more than $1.3 trillion dollars, a number that is only growing. The market size is large and the innovation opportunities are both incremental and disruptive.”
Keynote speaker – Christopher Curran of Education Growth Advisors:
Keynoter Chris Curran took the opportunity to address various trends in education leading with the simple fact that the number of enrolled students is down 2 percent when compared to 2011. In addition, 70 percent of educators believe that online education is an important part of the education strategy. Because institutions need help increasing yield and because there is such a strong focus on online education, the edTech industry is ripe for the picking. “This is why there are so many companies coming up through the investment food chain into education segments,” said Curran. Pressure on post-secondary institutions to be bigger and better has led institutions to be over spending. With that being said Curran explained that online courses reduce the cost of instruction by up to 20 percent. “Due to the most recent shift towards online education it is projected that 50 percent of all students by 2020 will either be fully enrolled in online courses or taking some type of online class,” said Curran.
At the conclusion of the keynote presentations attendees made their way back into the networking space where hot pizza, plenty of veggies, chips and salsa awaited. While helping themselves to self serve wine and beer, attendees gathering around exhibitor posters and connected with pitch presenters. Networking lasted late into the evening and it was clear to all that the software edTech sector is alive and well.
Thank you again to our event chairs, Joe DeMartino and Matthew Monteith for helping us plan and execute a successful Second Thursday Presentation!
Congratulations to Alan Tan, winner of this month’s drawing of our Innovation Summit Ticket Giveaway! We hope you noticed the Innovation Summit Ticket Giveaway bucket at the event, drop your business card in the bucket and you could win two tickets to the Innovation Summit! We draw a winner after every Second Thursday Event!
See you all at next months Summer Networking Party!
View Event Photos | Event Videos | Event Presentation